This inspiring news of a physically challenged tennis player making it down to Wimbledon is sure the best news to help you start a productive week. We find it amazing to report the success story of Kgothatso Montjane, a 32-year-old South African wheelchair tennis player who successfully defended her Swiss Open title in July, to becoming the first black South African woman to play at prestigious tennis tournament, Wimbledon Grand Slam 2018.
The Limpopo-born sportswoman, who received a wild card into the draw, faced her doubles partner‚ Katharina Kruger of Germany in the quarterfinals, though she was eliminated on Thursday in her semi-final match against world champion Diede De Groot but nevertheless, she has won over many fans to herself.
Montjane‚ with a world ranking of eight in singles and doubles‚ suffered from Amniotic Band Syndrome‚ which prevented some fingers and her legs from developing properly. She had her left leg amputated when she was young‚ and in her early days she used to serve with her weaker right arm and then play out the points holding the racket with her left arm. Montjane‚ who got provincial colours for ballroom dancing at school‚ has also won the disabled SA table tennis championships as well as medals for some field events at the national athletics championships.
Montjane credited the success of the Williams sisters as her inspiration. She explained how she had to travel alone with no coach because of a lack of funds “It was because of lack of funding. I had to send a proposal to a private South African finance institution even for me to even attend the tournament. They were the ones that helped me out”
Winners of the men’s and women’s singles titles at Wimbledon this year will earn about R40-million each‚ with first-round losers pocketing R695‚000. It’s substantially more than the wheelchair players will get. Wheelchair singles champions will be paid R713‚000. So it is safe to say Montjane will be getting more than she bargained for.
Montjane is currently, number six in the ITF World Wheelchair Tennis rankings and she has been named South Africa’s Disabled Sportswoman of the Year several times. In 2005, she was ranked 5th in the world. She was part of the South African team at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Summer Paralympics, and a World Team Cup participant on the SA team in 2009 and 2011. Montjane has also enjoyed success in doubles — winning the Belgian Open in 2015 partnering Jordanne Whiley.